Director Peter Medak's gritty voyage into the world of organized crime in 1960s London is a disturbing character study of the two most frightening and influential gangsters to ever come out of England, Ronnie and Reggie Kray. The ingenious casting of former pop icons Gary and Martin Kemp (of Spandau Ballet) as the powerful Kray brothers works well, establishing an eerie, unspoken connection between the two that is unsettling and extremely daunting. One scene in particular epitomizes that bond: Ronnie and Reggie come face to face in a boxing ring, each daring the other through snarls and psychopathic grins to knock the other down. Ringside spectators can't really understand the brothers' confrontation, but in the Krays' eyes we can see their power and unspoken resolve, as well as their sense of themselves as existing in an upper echelon of strength and sheer will that clearly separates them from the onlookers. It's this intense self-confidence that enables the Krays to rise from working-class obscurity to the highest ranks of organized crime. The Kemp boys also do a splendid job in portraying the inherent instability associated with the Krays. This true story follows the brothers from childhood through their rise and then fall from grace, as their personal lives and violent natures culminate in two murder charges, resulting in 30 years of imprisonment. Beyond its folkloric power, The Krays also captures a post-World War II London still recovering from the war's devastation, dismissing the mythos of the Swinging '60s people so fervently relate to this period. --Jeremy Storey
Shall I tell you my dream? I dreamed that I was a beautiful white swan. And I could fly anywhere, do anything. I ate fish and pecked at things with my beak. And I had this egg, a beautiful egg it was. And there were noises coming from inside the shell. And do you know what the noises were? They were - now listen carefully - they were children's voices. And I looked after this egg and kept it safe, until one day there was a hatching sound. And out came two boys and they were mine. And they were wonderful and they were perfect.
I was on the bus the other day. And some old toerag was boasting about all he'd suffered during the war. Stupid old... I tell you, they don't know. It was the women who had the war - the real war. The women were left at home in the shit, not sitting in some sparkling plane or gleaming tank. There's no glamour for us. They should have been with me when old Pauline Woolley went in to labour. D'you remember that, Violet?
Yes, yes I do, darling.
Seven hours of screaming down Bethnal Green bloody tube station. Then I had to cut the baby's head off - to save the mother's life. She died anyway, poor old cow. God, there was so much blood! Jesus! And the abortions. Those poor girls. One day they'll drain Victoria Park lake. And you know what they'll find? What glorious remnants of the Second World War? Babies, that's what. Bullets and dead babies. Men! Mum's right. They stay kids all their f***ing lives. And they end up heroes - or monsters. Either way they win. Women have to grow up. If *they* stay children, they become victims.